Part of the purpose of the STEPPS program is to help students learn the application of law and legal doctrine to facts and situations like those faced by lawyers in practice. The use of simulated cases and clients allows students to gain experience without the risk of consequences to real clients and provides students with opportunities to experiment as they learn. Professional responsibility issues arise regularly in the handling of cases and addressing problems will help students internalize and remember the rules and applications. The law office setting will provide this context for learning professional responsibility alongside the more traditional classroom methods that are also a part of the program.
Each student will be part of a law office that will have no more than 16 students. Each law office will also have a Supervising Attorney, who will be a member of the faculty or an adjunct. Each law office will meet for approximately 75 minutes each week. The activities in the law office meetings will include many things that are normally done in real law offices, including case rounds and case handling discussions, but our law office meetings will also provide opportunities for skills exercises, discussion of ethical problems from both the cases and the course text, and evaluation and feedback on case handling performances. The law office meetings will also provide students opportunities to discuss career issues and to experience work environments that are important to job selection and career choice.
The Supervising Attorneys will be accessible to members of their law offices for individual consultations about the cases that are being handled and about the skills and specific assignments. The Supervising Attorneys will provide individual feedback on all of the written work and most of the lawyering skills performances that students will do as part of the program.